It has been a year since the two Big 12 conference anchor schools Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave for the SEC. A move that we all expected would have destroyed the Big 12 once the move was official.
The Big 12 and the rest of the teams inside the conference held strong. Some looked to the ACC and even to the Pac-12 as landing spots if the end of the Big 12 was near. A year later and the conference has stood strong and added some good programs.
With that being said, you do not want to be left behind during conference realignment.
Unfortunately, this is where the rest of the Pac-12 is at currently after the news broke of USC and UCLA departing for the Big 10 by 2024.
The question now is who’s next?
There will be more movement from powerhouse programs over the next few years. At this point, the way USC, UCLA, Texas, and Oklahoma left their respective conferences has me to believe that every major program has a reserve of cash. A just-in-case they wanted to move to another conference fund.
Although, the ACC has a grant of rights agreement with its programs until 2036 which states that any tv revenue generated from an early exit school will have to go back to the ACC. That alone is a tough hurdle to get over, but in college football anything can be broke.
Florida State & Clemson
These two programs generate the most money for the ACC and have won the conference its last 4 National Championships. FSU and Clemson would be great targets for the SEC. The schools geographically make sense for the SEC to go after these two programs.
When it comes to recruiting, Florida States sits in the talented rich state of Florida. When the Noles are at their best it is very difficult to out recruit them. As for Clemson, the Tigers have been recruiting consistently at a high level for years now. A move to the SEC would almost certainly add to what they already do in recruiting.
Lastly, one of Florida State’s biggest rival are the Florida Gators. The game between the two is played every year on the last game of the season. It would be great to see a trip to the SEC Championship game come down to the last game of the season between these two. Clemson has the same situation with South Carolina. Their game is played every year as the last game. The same situation could happen if both were playing at a high level.
All in all, a move for FSU and Clemson to the SEC makes the most sense and could very much happen.
The Oregon Ducks program are in a bit of a limbo situation. They are by far the most valued program on the west coast since USC departure to the Big 10. They have an incredible relationship with Nike founder Phil Knight who helped transform them into a major brand. The Ducks have consistently competed at the top of college football for over a decade.
The reason this program is in limbo is because the next move they make could elevate their status amongst the elite programs or drop them. If Oregon can convince the rest of the Pac-12 to stay strong together then Oregon would have to have a solid national brand that would attract a great tv deal for the conference. I don’t believe they have that like USC or even UCLA did.
The next thought would be for Oregon to join the Big 12. If the rest of the conference decides to join the newly formed Big 12, then it could be a great fit. I could see where Oregon, Baylor, Utah, and Oklahoma State become the anchor programs for that conference. Again, would this merger or scenario be enticing enough for a major media rights deal to come along. I would think it would along the lines of what the ACC has currently.
Lastly, the Ducks could join the Big 10 as well. An Ohio State vs Oregon game sounds 10 times better than a Baylor vs Oregon. Oregon would be a part of one of the strongest conferences in the college athletics. The Big 10 have secured a long-term media rights deal that only gets stronger with the addition of the west coast power programs. Oregon games would sell out every weekend knowing Michigan or even Penn State is coming annually.
The Hurricane program is back in the limelight a little this year. The program made a major move to show a commitment to football and getting back to the top of college football. Miami is located in the hot bed of recruiting and would a great addition for either the SEC or the Big 10. Yes, the Big 10 is definitely in play for the Hurricanes.
If the Canes were to leave the ACC, Academics would play a huge role in the decision making process. The Big 10 place a higher value on academics that the SEC when adding programs. Joining the Big 10 would create some interesting match ups for the Canes. An Ohio State-Miami game would be a huge draw on any weekend. This could also be said if they play USC or Michigan. The only downside would be Miami having to travel such a far distance to play its nearest rival. I don’t see how the Big 10 could actually make that happen.
As for the SEC, this would be a logical spot for the Canes. Miami and Florida would finally play every year once again. The Canes would also play Georgia and every so often Alabama or LSU. A move to the SEC would improve recruiting and generate quality games every week unlike the ACC. I believe fans would much rather see Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, and even Texas come play the Canes than Duke, Louisville, Pitt, or even Virginia.
The Hard Rock stadium would most certainly sell out almost every week. The Canes could be a huge addition.